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OWNER TO OWNER: 6 Ways Ochoa Salons & Spas Cultivates Loyalty

March 12, 2018 | 8:39 AM
Ochoa’s Troy, Margaret and Myles Ochoa are proud to preside over a business that values family, loyalty and home-grown talent.
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In two locations in Western Massachusetts, Ochoa brings clients a mix of urban excellence and cozy familiarity.
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The Ochoas have partnered exclusively with L’Oréal Professionnel from the beginning. “Our advice is to stick with a professional partner once you make the choice,” they say.
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The Ochoa team keeps looking ahead, keen to embrace the latest trends and techniques.
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When Margaret and Bill Ochoa launched their first salon, Ochoa Salon & Spa, in Western Massachusetts in 1985, they envisioned creating a business with a metropolitan feeling in a suburban area, a place where clients could receive sophisticated service without driving to Boston or New York.

They also discussed their dream of fostering a creative team, one that would thrive on the power of relationships and grow into a multi-generational success story. Today, their sons Myles and Troy manage two successful salons and medical spas with their mother, and among the 93 employees are dozens of people who have been part of the Ochoa family for 10, 20 or 30 years. At the heart of everything the Ochoas do is the unshakable belief in the power of loyalty, and they never veer from this core ethos.

Here’s how it works:

They train from the ground up. Nobody comes to Ochoa from another salon. The Ochoas recruit from local cosmetology schools, and new hires start as assistants and begin a two-year training program. Their Director of Education conducts a class once a month, and the assistants learn a wide variety of cut, color and finishing methods.

Over the course of the program, they are encouraged to develop their own styles and approaches to hair. Partway through the program, each assistant is assigned to an experienced stylist, who provides training on client interaction and how to service 12 to 15 clients a day.

Additional hair color education is provided quarterly by L’Oréal Professionnel, and platform artists come to the salon twice more each year for classes. Selected team members also attend the L’Oréal Professionnel Global Experiences, and destination education programs conducted by Kerastase.

They hire for passion. “It’s often too early to gauge talent when we hire,” say Myles and Troy, “so we look for character and how inspired they are about the industry. We check with their teachers as to whether they’re team players and good and moral people. We know between our in-salon educators and the education we provide from L’Oréal Professionnel, they will learn.”

They choose to employ, not rent. Ochoa uses a commission-based compensation system. “Our parents started this way,” say Troy and Myles, “and we think it’s the best way because there’s no limit to what stylists can earn.” The assistant/trainees are paid an hourly wage, and the Education Director is compensated for her additional duties.

They understand that loyalty goes both ways. L’Oréal Professionnel has been the Ochoa Salon’s exclusive haircolor brand partner from the very beginning, and their loyalty has been reciprocated a hundred-fold. They say they are proud to be a 2017 L’Oréal Professionnel Top 10 Salon.

“Our advice for selecting a professional partner is to stick with them once you’ve made the choice,” say the Ochoas. “Don’t bounce back and forth. Don’t be a complainer. Be prepared to grow with the company. They’ll notice, and they’ll celebrate you if you work with them. L’Oréal Professionnel goes above and beyond for us. Find a partner who is willing to give you everything you’re willing to give them.”

They honor their roots, but they also evolve. Staff members tend to stay with the company, and many are now servicing the second and third generations of original clientele. But nobody is stuck in the past. The team prides itself on staying current and on-trend, in order to compete with salons in nearby urban markets. Troy and Myles worked at several companies after college before joining the family business. As a result of their experience, says Troy, they have brought new ideas and systems into the salon that are completely unique.

“We have been able to successfully combine our knowledge and training from different industries to make what we think is a perfect protocol for the salon/spa/medical field,” he explains. Another important part of their evolution? Embracing social media. “It’s critical for any salon’s success,” the Ochoas believe. "Everyone is involved. We have 93 people out there promoting themselves and the salon.”

They celebrate the loyalty of their team. Each year at the company holiday party, Margaret is thrilled to call out the long-time team members. “I take great pride that people are still with us after 25 years,” she says. “It’s because from the very beginning, we emphasized that this isn’t a job with us, it’s a career. We wanted to be part of a community, to build relationships so people feel like we’re inviting them into our home. Success is great but doing the grandchildren of our original clients and watching our people grow year after year—that is the best.” 

For more information about Ochoa Salon & Spas, visit ochoaforhair.com.

A Snapshot of Ochoa Salon & Spas:

Salon: Ochoa Salon & Spa
Owners: Margaret, Troy and Myles Ochoa
Location: East Longmeadow and South Hadley, MA
Number of Locations: 2
Established: Bill and Margaret Ochoa opened the first location in 1985
Square Feet: 3,000 and 2,700
Number of employees: 93
Number of Stations: 40
Number of Treatment Rooms: 10
Retail Lines: Kerastase, Shu Uemera, L’Oréal Professionnel
Color Line: L’Oréal Professionnel
Shampoo, Cut and Style: $30-$60
Single Process Color: $55-$120
Salon Software: MindBody
Best-Selling Products: Top shampoos and conditioners: Kerastase.
Top styling products: Shu Uemera
Newest Service Offering: Medical spa services, in partnership with Cynosure.

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